AWE Plans Drilling Program Offshore Taranaki for October

Sydney-based explorer Australian Worldwide Exploration (AWE) is doing advanced planning for a four to five well drilling campaign in the offshore Taranaki Basin which is due to start in October this year.

AWE will use the semisubmersible drilling rig, Kan Tan-IV for the campaign with the first of these wells being drilled at Hoki-1, which is a North Cape play in PEP 38401 west of New Plymouth.

The Kan Tan-IV rig, operated by international drilling company Maersk, will be contracted by AWE on behalf of a consortium in New Zealand.

AWE said in its first quarter report that the Hoki permit which was granted two years ago in April 2007 is operated by AWE which holds a 50% interest. The other partners are OMV (31.25%) and Todd Energy (18.75%).

The company reported it has completed 6,000 kilometers of a multi-permit 2D seismic in its Taranaki permits during the quarter.

"This intensive seismic acquisition program is aimed at accelerating further targets for exploration drilling in the prospective offshore Taranaki Basin," AWE said.

The 2D seismic was acquired across five permits from November 2008 to February 2009.

In a presentation to the Macquarie Australian Conference, the company describes the Taranaki Basin as AWE's heartland.

The presentations said Hoki also had follow-up prospects at Tikati and Vespa in nearby permits.

Offshore site surveys have been completed at Hoki and Tuatara, which is a Moki play in PEP 38524 off D'Urville Island north of Nelson, and also at the potential drilling targets adjacent to the Tui oil field.

The Tui area near field exploration well targets are likely to be selected from the Tui NE, Tui SW or Kahu prospects, which AWE last year said were potential reservoir areas close to the existing Tui oil pool.

One of the other targets in offshore Taranaki which AWE mentions in the presentation is the Bahamas biogenic gas play.

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